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Every day there are 4,200 delayed flights and 330 cancelled flights. What’s even more surprising is that these figures are just for North America. Embracing the idea that the passenger experience can and (hopefully) will get a lot better, IBM and Apple have partnered to bring a shockingly logical mobile airline software platform, incorporating just about everything one could possibly dream of to assist passengers, even in mid air. In fact, the software can help the plane itself and it’s coming to an airline near you… very soon.

Passenger + from Apple and IBM is designed to enable real time, even mid flight, using planes built in wifi. Flight delayed and have a tight connection? The flight crew are automatically alerted to your problem, presented with solutions to offer, can rebook you from mid air, send you an email and upon landing a mobile boarding pass is waiting for you on your device. You don’t need to speak to a soul or waste a minute upon landing. Did your inflight video screen not work? The crew can instantly alert maintenance on the ground, helping the next flight be far more likely to make it’s next departure on time, preventing more missed connections for more passengers. Maybe you’ve just had a generally enduring travel experience? The app can inform the crew of your prior troubles, instructing them to ensure the best experience and potentially offer an upgrade, whatever it takes to make things better. Crews need the ability to send and receive information in real time, even if the information is just that “there’s a VIP passenger wearing a baseball cap and glasses in 5K, his name is Leonardo Dicaprio”. 

And on the ground? The new app “Passenger Care” is designed to bring airline customer service agents out from their clunky desk hiding positions and into the terminal for check in and passenger assistance, anywhere. In fact, utilizing wireless technology, when you approach an agent for check in, rebooking or general help, their mobile software will remotely pick up your reservations via your mobile device. They’ll be able to wirelessly pull up credentials such as loyalty level, personal preferences and more, before you say a word. How nice will it be to receive a greeting by name, a thank you for your loyalty and an offer of actionable help without the small talk or death stares?

Getting there may never be quite as fun as being there, but it shouldn’t be a reason not to go. We deserve better than phone hold jazz music. Smart technology such as this should not only bring happier customers, it should make more efficient airlines. I applaud IBM and Apple for their unique partnership and for their work in improving the passenger experience. I’ll be very eager to see which airlines first adapt the technology! Come on (all airlines)! Oh and if you’re in charge of deciding who gets the nice VIP dot next to their name, I’d like to be one!

Β Huge Thanks to reader Stephen Mellish for the tip!

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